Premiere of landmark community film fast approaching

ELY: Boat Race 70th anniversary

ELY: Boat Race 70th anniversary - Credit: Archant

The final countdown has started to the premiere of a film that organisers say has been more than 60 million years in the making.

A Strange Day at Queen Adelaide tells the story of a stretch of the Great Ouse near Ely from the time of the dinosaurs to the appearance of dedicated university and community oarsmen and features the war-time boat races.

The film is a Diamond44 community project that will have its world premiere in Ely Cathedral on Saturday, February 28, as the climax of a unique experience, marking the events surrounding the 1944 race between Oxford and Cambridge. The third of the war-time series, the race was rowed at Queen Adelaide and was commemorated by a repeat event in 2004 which led to the formation of the Isle of Ely Rowing Club.

The club’s president is Martin Whitworth, a member of the 1944 and 1945 Cambridge crews, and he will be a guest of honour at the premiere.

During the evening, Martin will name the club’s latest boat ‘Honours Even’ to commemorate the final outcome of the four war-time races.

There will also be an appearance by the Ely String Quartet - four talented young women who created some of the film’s background music - and authentic fun and games provided by groups of re-enactors.

Producer Jack Waterfall said: “Researching the 1944 race produced some intriguing historical facts. For instance, Charles Merivale, one of the Boat Race founders in 1829, went on to become Dean of Ely. So it is fitting that the film should be shown in the cathedral.

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“But that’s not all. So come along to the premiere. We can promise an entertaining evening that will include an intriguing exhibition laced with some fascinating facts about the river and the surrounding area.”